Leanne Hassett


Leanne Hassett

2005 Allied Health Scholar

Scholarship biography (at time of award)

Leanne Hassett holds the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) and Master of Health Science (Neurological Physiotherapy) from the University of Sydney.

Leanne was awarded the Scholarship to complete her PhD project entitled "Fitness training after traumatic brain injury” at the University of Sydney. Her research is designed to determine the effectiveness of fitness training for people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and validate a field test for cardiorespiratory fitness - a type of fitness that is commonly reduced in people with TBI and restricts participation in work and leisure activities.

Studied at: University of Sydney

Current Biography

Dr Hassett is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Physiotherapy at The University of Sydney (0.6 full time equivalent) with teaching, research and administrative responsibilities and is the Team Leader for the Neurology teaching team. She is also a Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health (0.4 full time equivalent) and is currently an Investigator and Manager for the NHMRC funded AMOUNT rehabilitation trial (APP1063751); the largest trial internationally investigating the use of tailored prescription of technology to increase physical activity and mobility in people receiving rehabilitation. Dr Hassett was awarded her PhD in 2008, supported by the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Allied Health. She has 25 peer-reviewed articles, 11 as lead author, in both international and national journals, and co-authored a book chapter in an influential physiotherapy textbook used internationally for teaching. Dr Hassett has had 35 invited international, national and local presentations including a 3-day workshop in Norway in 2008 and a pre-conference workshop at the 2015 National Physiotherapy Neurology Conference. Dr Hassett has won an international conference prize (best abstract and platform presentation at the 2011 World Congress of Physical Therapy) and a national conference prize and has has had grant and fellowship success totalling more than one million AUD including as a CI on a 2016 NHMRC project grant (APP1104237).

Dr Hassett worked as a Physiotherapist within South Western Sydney Local Health District for 17 years (1996-April 2013). In 2008 she was promoted to Clinical Specialist in the NSW Health Professionals (State) award (only 15 out of over 700 allied health staff within SWSLHD were classified at this level). In this role she led research activities including mentoring staff, quality improvement projects, led workshops to promote evidence-based practice, developed policies and procedures from research evidence and hosted and co-chaired two NSW Health Allied Health Research forums. In 2012 she led the expansion of the metropolitan Physiotherapy Traumatic Brain Injury Special Interest Group to become a statewide group within the Agency of Clinical Innovation who meet quarterly to collaborate on clinical and research activities.

Dr Hassett has made a significant contribution to the understanding of how to prescribe exercise to increase fitness and physical activity in people after traumatic brain injury. Her two randomised controlled trials and Cochrane systematic review provided valuable information about the dosage of exercise required and possible in this population for fitness effects. Secondary analysis of data also provided valuable and novel information about factors which influence adherence to exercise programs in this population. Findings from this research have been implemented into policies and procedures within the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program of NSW as well as taught in workshops at a state level and internationally.

Since her appointment in 2013 her work has broadened to investigate physical activity interventions in a range of population groups with mobility limitations including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, people with physical disability and healthy older people. She is also investigating the use of affordable technology (gaming systems, activity monitors, tablet and mobile phone devices) in these populations to increase physical activity and works closely with Disability Sports Australia to advocate and evaluate the role of sport for people with physical disability.

Scholarship Year: 2005

Fields of Interest

Allied Health, Science